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Digital Subscriptions > Singletrack > 103 > RAGLEY REVIVAL

RAGLEY REVIVAL

BARNEY HEADS TO A SOMEWHAT SOGGY NORTHERN IRELAND TO INVESTIGATE A HARDTAIL BRAND IN RESURGENCE.

At times, Northern Ireland reminds me – quite a lot – of parts of America. It’s not about ten-gallon hats, or a propensity for enormous pickup trucks – although the region probably has its share, but once you get out of the urban sprawls, and motorways with insane numbers of lanes (America again), it’s the way the space is used. Whether it’s true in actuality or not, there’s a feeling that there has always been plenty of room to go around. Aeons past, settlers didn’t feel the need to bunch up. There’s an air of sprawling, of stretching, of mankind’s presence extending longer, thinner tendrils here than in other parts of the UK. As you travel through Northern Ireland, you get a sense that villages start more gradually, urbanisation increases in density more slowly, and then you reach a nebulous centre before leaving the buildings languidly behind, as if they’re reluctant to let you go.

Where am I?

I’m sitting pondering this and other unanswerables as I’m being ferried through the countryside, peering through the raindrops on the windscreen as the world opens up like a particularly soggy flower. And almost before I have a chance to draw breath, I’m in a trail centre. I’m carving an impossibly fun section of steep, wooded singletrack; very, very fast, flowing sinewy lines of grey and white in an otherwise dank forest, with steep berms that catapult me into direction changes without a thought; stepdowns which seem small until I’m on top of them, at which point they’re anything but. Luckily, the speed at which I’m hurtling prevents any brake-induced catastrophes – I simply can’t slow down fast enough – and so I rocket on through, whooping with delight at the thing I’ve just cleaned. And I make a mental note to ride it faster next time, which is happily something I proceed to do immediately as I circle around for another go on my spanking new loaner Ragley Bigwig.

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About Singletrack

We've got our fat bikes and thermal clothing at the ready and we live in hope of snow. So far all we've got is mud - on the trails and in the streets. If this carries on, issue 104 may contain a grouptest of wellies. However, this issue we bring you: We Work Here - Ragley. Barney takes a look a this Northern Irish manufacturer to see what innovations are leading their revival in the market place. International Adventure: Czech Mate - Rowan Sorrell takes a look at some purpose built trails​ in the Czech Republic​. The name of the place is unpronounceable but the trails are excellent and make for a perfect long weekend adventure. International Adventure: The Goat - So, you win a goat, you let it roam free in the mountains, and then later you decide to go and see if you can find it. Nathan Hughes takes us on an unlikely adventure with pro rider Timo Pritzel.​ Classic Ride: Pete Scullion rides Dumyat near Stirling, Scotland. Race Head: Rampage! Most of us will have spent some time on the internet watching clips from Red Bull Rampage, but there's a group of die-hard - or possibly fool-hardy - fans who make the trek into the desert to watch it live. Grinder Bike: Greg puts a beautiful looking titanium Vaaru through its paces. Is it as good as it is pretty? Bike Test: Full Plussers - a new generation of slimmer-than-a fat-bike full suspension bikes is appearing. Chipps put three ​from Salsa, Scott and Specialized ​to the test. In our exclusive subscriber section - available to subscribers or to purchase through our shop or premier dealers: UK Adventure: Sam Flanagan rides Black Sail​ pass in the Lakes​. A bit more remote than your average ride, he considers what skills and equipment it takes to step up your riding from trail center to the middle of nowhere. Last Word: Dann Allbright reckons he has the answer to all your technical questions...
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